Monday 21 October 2019

Dublin woman ditches 4 take-aways, 14 litres of cola, and 140 cigarettes a week in bid to avoid heart attack on tonight's Doctor in the House

Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

A Dublin woman who was too afraid to run for the bus in case she suffered a heart attacks shares her story and overhauls her life on tonight's episode of Doctor in the House.

Mum Deirdre Poafa (55) from Whitehall has four children, 25-year-old Rebecca, Alika (18), Sam (16), and Mele (14) and said she takes the blame for getting the family into bad habits, ordering up to four take-aways a week when she was juggling work and visiting her sick father in a hospice. 

It was when she got a pain in her chest walking to Eddie Rockets that alarm bells first rang for Deirdre. 

She visited a pharmacist in the shopping centre who took her blood pressure and found it was 270/170.  Deirdre was on the verge of a heart attack and needed to go to hospital. 

Deirdre instead went to her GP who agreed with the pharmacist and sent her to the Mater. 

"I felt fine apart from being out of breath, it was like someone had given me a blow to the chest. My doctor told me the pharmacist was right and I was in the Mater for five days with sky-high blood pressure," she told

"One of the doctors there told me I should really watch my health. I had always walked everywhere because I didn't drive but I was afraid to run for the bus in case I had a heart attack."

After her health scare, Deirdre decided she wanted to take part in the show in a bid to right her ways. As well as the regular take-aways, she was smoking 20 cigarettes a day and drinking two litres of cola every evening. 

She soon discovered she had diabetes, something she said she took harder “than finding out I had six weeks to live”. 

“I took it so badly, all I could think about was I could never eat any sugar ever again, I want into panic mode. Then my daughter reminded me, you can reverse this. Things are great for me now, and I’ve lost a further stone since the show,” said Deirdre. 

“I’ve only had two glasses of Coke in a year – I used to love a Bacardi and Coke with my girlfriends on a Friday night and that has all stopped too.” 

She has also turned around her cooking habits, saying she prepares five dinners over the weekend and has them ready to go when her younger kids come home from school. 

She has also ditched her smoking habit. 

However she is apprehensive about seeing the show air tonight. 

“We are a bit nervous but it is what it is. When we saw the ad, ‘Deirdre, 20 cigarettes a day, Coke, takeaways’, the kids all said, ‘We look dreadful!’”

“But I don’t regret doing the show at all.” 

The show will also explore how her son Sam tackled his anxiety, for which he was being treated in Temple Street, Alika's struggle with bulimia and older sister Rebecca who was very strict with her diet, always in the gym, but not eating fruit and vegetables.

Doctor in the House, 9pm on Virgin Media One. 

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